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The Deal With Drug Czars

Activists rally during a protest denouncing the city's 'inadequate and wrongheaded response' to the overdose crisis, outside of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) headquarters, August 10, 2017 in New York City.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The role of drug czar took the spotlight this week when Trump administration nominee Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa.,

withdrew his name from consideration for the position.

Marino was the subject of a recent investigation by “60 Minutes” and The Washington Post that revealed the Congressman’s role as a major player in weakening the Drug Enforcement Administration’s ability to regulate opioid distributors.

Drug czars are charged with taking the lead on drug policy in the U.S. and the position has a history that dates back to 1930. But their agendas are largely set by the administrations they serve.

With President Trump set to declare the opioid epidemic a national crisis next week, how is the Office of National Drug Control Policy poised to address the problem?


General Barry McCaffrey (U.S. Army-Ret.), Retired U.S. army four-star general; former director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Sarah Karlin-Smith, Health care reporter, Politico

Carl Hart, Chair, Columbia University Department of Psychology

Robert Weiner, President, Robert Weiner Associates; former director of public affairs, White House Office of National Drug Policy

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